The Ottawa Senators have recalled defenseman Jacob Bernard-Docker from their AHL affiliate, the Belleville Senators, per a team announcement. The 2018 first-round pick last played in the NHL in January, and in total has played in 13 games for Ottawa this season.
Bernard-Docker’s last stretch of NHL action came between January 16th and 21st, when he played in four games and got between 21 and 14 and a half minutes per game.
He’s registered just one point in his 13 games this year, but it’s important to note with Bernard-Docker that offense isn’t the priority. He’s more of a stay-at-home defender who earns his keep by playing a positionally sound crease-clearing game.
He’s done that to this point in the AHL, playing as a top-pairing defenseman for Belleville. What he hasn’t been able to do, though, is find a way to stick in the NHL consistently.
He was afforded an extended developmental runway at the University of North Dakota and performed well there, but as the Senators have been in need of capable NHL defensemen Bernard-Docker has been passed over in favor of other options in the past.
Eligible for restricted free agency in the offseason, this recall is an important opportunity for Bernard-Docker to leave a lasting, positive impression on the Senators organization.
Bernard-Docker will be eligible for waivers next season, meaning the time when the Senators need to make a choice as to whether he’s in their NHL plans is rapidly approaching. However many NHL games this recall earns Bernard-Docker will be his chance to make that choice a lot easier.